Most injuries and health problems associated with exercise have the same basic cause: the overstressing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, or other tissues. With enough information and care, risks can be minimized. When participating in a sport or physical activity, it is important to be in good physical condition. If you are a beginner, start slowly, progressing from low to moderate intensities until you have a solid fitness base. Remember to listen to your body. Pay attention to signals that indicate you may be doing too much and slow down. To prevent injury, participate in a program of proper flexibility and conditioning exercises appropriate for your sport activity. It is also a good idea to wear protective equipment, such as neck rolls, padded soft collars, thigh pads, helmets, and shoulder pads. You may want to tape weak joints before practice or competition, especially if a joint has been previously injured. When exercising, watch out for ruts or holes. Warm-up before practice or exercise, and avoid muscle fatigue through overexertion. Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and do not combine heavy eating with vigorous exercise. For more information on exercise safety, contact a health care professional.